The YouTube Creator Playbook is an awesome guide to follow when making your videos. Covering every section of it was enlightening and maddening all at once. The Playbook offers great information, and then forgets that not everyone can do some of the things they suggest (custom thumbnails are the bane of the Playbook’s existence). Overall, though, it tells video creators that they have a huge amount of control over whether their videos get seen or not. If you have great content, you have to be proactive. There’s a universe of content on YouTube and getting millions to watch one video means taking time to promote yourself.
Below are the links to every single article covering the Playbook.
Section 1: The First 15 Seconds
Viewers on YouTube know within the first 15 seconds whether your video is going to be worth their while, so you have to grab their attention immediately and give them an idea what the video is about in those first moments.
Section 2: Create A Call-To-Action
How do you get viewers active and create buzz around your video? Give them something to talk about. The more activity you can generate with simple questions and getting comments, or getting people to like, favorite, or share your video, the more it is watched, and the more the YouTube search algorithm favors it.
Section 3: Regular Schedule & Frequency
Videos on YouTube can work a lot like TV programs. If potential viewers are constantly unaware of when new content is being posted, or videos come out only once a month, your fans that loved you after the first video will not come back. And winning new fans will get more difficult. That’s why having a regular schedule (Mondays!) and posting frequently (EVERY Monday!) will build trust.
Section 4: Tent-Pole Events
There are a bunch of events that are already being discussed on the Internet, can you leverage them for views? Whether a huge movie is coming out, or a celebrity has been caught in an embarrassing situation, or it’s Halloween, or it’s your 100th video, you can capitalize on special events to increase views through the natural buzz created by the web.
Section 5: Cross-Promotions and Video Collaborations
We’ve seen Freddie Wong and Epic Meal Time collaborate a couple of times, and many other YouTube stars have made videos together. The idea is to find a channel that has around the same amount of subscribers/views as you do, and enhance each others’ brands with content that makes sense. You can also provide links and shout-outs to other creators as you help each other get a larger audience.
Section 6: YouTube Analytics
Over the course of covering the Playbook, YouTube changed their audience discovery tool Insight to Analytics. No matter what it’s called, though, this is a tool that can help you figure out if people are leaving your video early, where you’re getting viewers from, demographics, almost everything related to how your video performs. It makes good sense to use it and change areas that need work, while keeping other aspects of your videos that people like the same.
The article covers what it was when it was called Insight, but the information there is almost the same. The Playbook has been edited to make the name change and clarify some things that were not clear earlier.
Section 7: Metadata
The Metadata section is so huge, I had to break it up into two parts. Part 1 is here, and part 2 is here. What we know about writing good metadata (tags, titles, and descriptions) is that it won’t necessarily give your video more views at first, since people will not be finding your video through search in the beginning. But the better the metadata, the better the YouTube search engine can find it, and it comes in handy when a link isn’t readily available.
Section 8: Thumbnails
The most misleading section of the Playbook, and man did I cover it with fervor, only to find out that only YouTube partners can create custom thumbnails, leaving non-partners in the cold. While there are some tricks you can use to get YouTube’s random thumbnail generator to come up with the one you want, it’s a lot of work and will end up interrupting your content. So this section is generally for partners, and the rest of us have to cross our fingers.
Section 9: Annotations
Annotations are the text versions of calls-to-action, and can be given hyperlinks to direct people to other videos. They can ask for likes, favorites, shares, and point out details in the video. They are reinforcements to all your other calls-to-action that you might express verbally in the video. And like all features on YouTube, proper use of them can help you in search.
Section 10: Playlists And Video Responses
Another rather odd section in the Playbook, the best information contained concerns Playlists, and how you can leverage your best videos to lead into your new videos. The out-of-nowhere part is talking about video responses, which are videos you make to post on another person’s video page, usually in response to their video, and hopefully it’s relevant.
Section 11: Channel Optimization
It’s not entirely difficult to make your channel page attractive. Come up with compelling background images that don’t interfere with YouTube’s player or your content, make links easy to find, and reduce clutter. Your channel page is your home.
Section 12: Viewer Interaction & Involvement
The viewer interaction section is a whole lot like the call-to-action section. Getting your viewers involved with your videos is a huge step in creating an audience. Making your super-fans feel special by providing them extra content that no one else can see, or allowing them to be a part of your videos once in awhile, can build relationships with your fans.
Section 13: Blog Outreach
When making your videos, you need to find some blogs with an audience in which to share them. As we discuss here, it’s probably best to have a relationship with those blogs before you start asking them to post videos, it’s just better form. However, there are blogs looking for videos and if you follow their guidelines, you might be able to get your video up without that. Just be sure to stick around for some conversation afterwards and heavily comment when the video is posted. And be thankful to those who post it.
Section 14: Social Media
The final section of the Playbook discusses the role of Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus in your video’s success. Sharing the video on a platform like Facebook allows you to announce new videos, interact with fans, and is yet another way to build trust with your audience.
We Hope You Enjoyed Our Coverage Of The Playbook
Use this tool to the fullest. Now go out and start making videos! YouTube will be getting even bigger this year, so you should be using every bit of advice in the Playbook to your advantage.